A former Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says the
Czech Republic should gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, as
should other NATO members. He made the comment after the shooting dead of
soldier Tomáš Procházka in the country on Monday.
Mr. Zaorálek told the news website Novinky.cz that deploying Czech troops to Afghanistan had cost a lot of money. He said it had been a mistake to enter the country, just as it had been wrong to go into Iraq.
Four Czech soldiers have died in Afghanistan in the last three months.
People who have refused to accept the election of Miloš Zeman have not
been invited to a ceremony at Prague Castle on Sunday celebrating the
centenary of Czechoslovakia, the president’s spokesman, Jiří
Ovčáček, said. His statement confirmed reports that some figures,
including the heads of political parties, have not received the usual
invitation to such events.
Mr. Ovčáček said the Office of the President had done such people a favour as they would not now need to wrestle with their consciences with regard to whether to attend. He said hundreds of people had been invited to the event at the Vladislav Hall and the number ignored was small.
The Czech National Bank will on Wednesday issue new CZK 20 coins featuring
images of politicians Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Milan Rastislav Štefánik
and Edvard Beneš. The three played key roles in the foundation of
Czechoslovakia, the centenary of which is currently being celebrated.
They are ordinary coins rather than memorial ones and are intended to circulate normally. However, they will be limited in number and collectors can acquire a maximum of three of each from branches of the Czech National Bank.
The regular CZK 20 coin features a portrait of St. Wenceslas on horseback.
Many of Prague’s museums will open their doors free of charge or for a
token sum on Saturday and Sunday, when events are being held to mark the
centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Some of the 14 institutions
taking part in the weekend’s celebrations are planning to run special
programmes in connection with the anniversary.
The most prominent participant in the event Prague Museums 1918–2018 will be the National Museum, which is reopening after major renovations on Saturday. It will host the exhibition Czech-Slovak/Slovak Czech, which has already been shown in Bratislava.
President Miloš Zeman will make a speech in the Chamber of Deputies on
Wednesday at a session where a vote will take place on next year’s state
budget, his spokesperson said. Mr. Zeman previously backed the draft budget
during negotiations between and ANO and the Social Democrats on forming a
The coalition plans for a deficit of CZK 40 billion in next year’s budget, down from the CZK 50 million deficit envisaged for 2018. Some opposition politicians have criticised the maintenance of a deficit at a time of economic growth.
The chief of staff of the Czech Army, Aleš Opata, says an attack that left
a Czech soldier dead in Afghanistan was carried out by an Afghan soldier
serving alongside NATO troops. Corporal Tomáš Procházka, who was 42, was
shot dead on Monday while returning from a routine mission outside his base
in Herat Province. His body is due to be flown home on Wednesday.
General Lieutenant Opata said the assailant had fired on the men not primarily because they were Czech, but because they were members of the coalition forces.
The Czech minister of defence, Lubomír Metnar, described the attack as unexpected and unprecedented. Two other Czech soldiers were injured.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to visit the Czech Republic on Friday at
the start of a weekend of celebrations marking the centenary of the birth
of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918.She is to meet with Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš and other top officials.
French President Emmanuel Macron will also travel to Prague to attend the celebrations, highlighting France´s contribution to the birth of independent Czechoslovakia.
One of the five Czech soldiers injured in a suicide bomb blast in
Afghanistan last week is to be flown back to the Czech Republic for further
A spokesperson for the Czech Armed Forces said the soldier’s condition now enabled transport and the army would send out a special plane to bring him home.
He suffered serious injuries in the blast and has already undergone several operations.
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